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Cinema Chat: 'Altman', 'Mississippi Grind', 'Martian' , 'Sleeping With Other People' And More


Hollywood news, local movie news, movie previews and some special events. It's all here in this week's 'Cinema  Chat' with David Fair and Russ Collins. 

Special Screenings – “Altman” and Film Shorts

Tonight, Thursday, October 1, the Manhattan Short Film Festivalreturns to Ann Arbor! It’s an extraordinary global event with over 100,000 people in over 300 cities across six continents gathering in cinemas, galleries, universities, museums and cafes for one purpose: to view and vote on the finalists’ films in the annual festival. The Manhattan Short Film Festival plays tonight only, Thursday, October 1 at the Michigan Theater.


Kathryn Altman, widow and artistic collaborator of the late film director Robert Altman, will join other Altman collaborators for a post-screening panel discussion after the screening of Ron Mann’s film “Altman.” This biographical documentary traces Robert Altman’s idiosyncratic career path, charting a filmography that spanned over fifty years and earning him five Oscar nominations. The film was assembled with the help of Kathryn Altman from a wealth of home movies, archival interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage.

Director Mann’s film lets Altman tell his story largely in his own words, giving rare insight into the mind of a moviemaking maverick.  “Altman” plays Saturday at 7 PM at the Michigan. After the screen there will be a panel discussion with Kathryn Altman and GiuliaD’AgnoloVallan, co-authors of a beautiful new Altman book, Simon Ennis, the Director of Photography of the documentary and Michael Murphy a frequently featured Altman actor. Mrs. Altman and Ms. Vallen will sign copies of their new book after the discussion. Also a screening of Altman’s classic film “Nashville” will take place at 9:30 in the Screening Room. 

Opening Downtown

Mississippi Grind

In “Mississippi Grind,” Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is a talented poker player, but his gambling habit is getting the best of him. One day, he meets a charismatic young traveler named Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). Deeming Curtis his lucky charm, Gerry convinces him that they should hit the road together. As they gamble their way down South toward a legendary high-stakes poker game, the trip's highs and lows unveil the duo's true character and motivation, and an undeniable bond forms between them. “Mississippi Grind” opens Friday at the Michigan.

Continuing Downtown


GRANDMA  - Lily Tomlin's character  finds herself in a quandry when her granddaughter Sage (JULIA GARNER) unexpectedly shows up needing $500 before sundown. With the clock ticking, the two set out in her vintage Dodge. Also stars SAM ELLIOTT and LAVERNE COX. 


PHOENIX - Acclaimed director CHRISTIAN PETZOLD spellbinding mystery of identity, illusion, and deception unfolds against the turmoil of post-World War II Germany.

Other Special Screenings Downtown

Rosemary's Baby

In “Rosemary’s Baby,” Rosemary (Mia Farrow) and her struggling actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes) move to a New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and odd neighbors. When Rosemary becomes pregnant she becomes increasingly isolated, and the diabolical truth is revealed only after Rosemary gives birth.  “Rosemary’s Baby” plays Saturday at the State.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

The Spielberg: Man and Monsters film series continues with “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”  After an encounter with U.F.O.s, a blue-collar worker (Spielberg’s second collaboration with Richard Dreyfuss) feels uncontrollably drawn to an isolated mountain in the wilderness where ssomething spectacular is about to happen. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” plays Monday at the Michigan.  

Only You

In the romantic comedy “Only You,” a Chinese remake of 1994's “Only You” starring Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr, a bride-to-be travels to Italy to find her fated lover and falls in love.  Presented by U-M’s Confucius Institute, “Only You” plays Tuesday at the State.

Opening at the Multiplex

The Martian

In “The Martian,” during a manned mission to Mars, astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Based on a best-selling novel, “The Martian” opens Friday.


“Sicario” explores the lawless border area stretching between the U.S. and Mexico, where idealistic FBI agent Kate (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by an elite government task force official (Josh Brolin) to aid in the escalating war against drugs. Led by an enigmatic consultant with a questionable past (Benicio Del Toro), the team sets out on a clandestine journey, forcing Kate to question everything that she believes in order to survive.  “Sicario” opens Friday.

Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.